Emergency Care

What is Considered an Orthodontic Emergency?

An orthodontic emergency can be defined as a situation that requires attention from your orthodontist. This may include situations such as:

  • A toothache or other oral pain
  • A broken bracket
  • A pokey wire

How to Address General Orthodontic Emergencies at Home

The following guide will help you take care of the most common orthodontic emergencies with tools you already have in your own home. First, we’ll talk about braces.

Loose Broken Brackets

Loosened brackets, or brackets detaching from your teeth, can happen – and neither are serious emergencies. This can result from eating hard/sticky foods, playing with the brackets, or bumping into something with your braces.

If a bracket comes loose or breaks, leave it in place, covering it with wax if needed for comfort. If the bracket breaks off entirely, just remove it and leave it alone. Your braces will still work properly without it until your orthodontist can affix a new one.

Wire Poking Cheeks or Gums

Braces are effective because of the metal wire ligature that keeps them connected. Sometimes wires can detach from brackets within the aligner and begin poking into your gums. This can obviously cause discomfort but usually isn’t considered an emergency. This can be caused by food or foreign objects, but it’s simple enough to correct.

You can use a ball of wax to relieve the pain or use a pencil eraser to push the wire back into place.

Tooth Discomfort and Soreness

The process of aligning teeth into their correct positions can sometimes cause pain or general soreness. This is a common side effect because the braces are literally shifting and rearranging your teeth. If your soreness continues after 3-5 days of receiving your braces you can periodically take Acetaminophen or Ibuprophen.

Gum Ulcers or Sores

Ulcers and sores can sometimes be common for people with metal braces. This isn’t a reason for concern, however. Some individuals may have more sensitive gums than others and so contact with any foreign object can cause unpleasant spots on the gums. Try to keep the area clean and cover the bracket or wire with wax. As with general soreness, you can take Tylenol or Advil if you have pain. The ulcers will fade quickly as the mouth heals.

Braces Wire Slipped Out Completely

In rarer cases, your braces wire ligature may slip out completely. If this happens, there are a number of methods you can try to get the wire fixed into place correctly. Try using a clean pair of tweezers to put the wire back into the bracket. If you can’t do this, it may be time to get in touch with us to ensure your treatment isn’t affected.

Poking Steel Tie

Sometimes braces are attached using steel ligatures to connect wires and brackets. As with other wiring in the braces, this can unwind and cause discomfort. If this happens, you can cover the area with wax or try to push this back into place with a clean eraser on the end of a pencil

Lost Rubber Band

If one of the colored rubber bands comes off your brackets. Don’t fret! These are useful as an added buffer to hold your brackets in place, but they aren’t essential. If the brackets come off or are loose, it may be time to schedule another appointment.

Non-Brace Related Dental Emergencies

If some sort of trauma occurs to your teeth and you need dental assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our orthodontic office.

Harris Orthodontics is Here for You During Any Orthodontic Emergency!

We have multiple resources for you if you are concerned about your braces. If you have questions or concerns about your treatment, we can help.